Friday, September 17, 2010
“Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Matthew 7:17-18 (NIV Bible)
I had been reading in Matthew recently and was struck by the passage about good and bad fruit. I thought, you know, this really is addressing character and being genuine with others. In my design, the bright orange/red/yellow represents the light of God shining through the clouds giving nurture to the tree below. The bright colors beneath the tree represent good soil while the tree to the right has not produced fruit and the soil is not good. The contrast of bright and dark colors represents the struggle we face daily in our efforts to be like Jesus and not charlatans. It represents our daily struggle as we stand tall for Jesus and turn a deaf ear to the evil one.
One day while cruising through a furniture store with my wife, I marveled at the “plastic fruit” on various table tops. It looked real and in fact, edible. So, how do we know who is a false prophet and who is a Christian teacher? In Galatians 5:22-23 it is written, “But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Wow! What wonderful guidelines for our behavior! Now, behavior and works do not give us a ticket to eternal life, but, and this is critical, our behavior and works are a result of our relationship to Jesus. A Christian who is good fruit is good because of what God has done for him/her, and he/she understands that eternal life is not something deserved, but rather that Jesus paid the cost and is the reason!
It is written in John 15:4, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” You can discern the false prophets by their self-centered focus and “look what I have done” attitude. As Christians in the marketplace it is imperative that we behave consistent with the fruit of the Spirit. Just imagine working in an organization in which everyone was patient, kind, demonstrated goodness, smiled with joy and peace, and exercised self-control! Now, that is what I call good marketplace fruit! How about you?